Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ethiopia, Day Five

Today was the day that we were really here for. The visa appointment. This is the day that international adoptive parents wait for after their court day. This is the day that the US Embassy decides that they will grant your child a visa to enter the country. Ben and I got dressed up in the nicest clothes we brought so that we could pile into a van and head to the Embassy.

We got to the Embassy and went through the necessary check points and security. Once we were in the waiting room that is exactly what we did, wait. There were other families from Christian World Adoption also waiting for their visas as well. If you don't know, this agency is one of the adoption agencies that was exposed for nefarious activities in Ethiopia, including lying, manipulation and fraud. You can see the CBS story here. Additionally, there were many Ethiopians waiting for visas too. I was fairly uncomfortable waiting in the room because I know that many Ethiopians do not agree with so many of their children being taken to live abroad. As I've said before, I understand this. Holt understands this too because other than the visa appointment we are not allowed to take our children out into the city. If we want to go to the supermarket or any place else after we have taken custody we have to leave the children at the Care Center. I guess I was the only one who felt uncomfortable because when I brought this up later, no one seemed to have noticed the stares were were getting. One Ethiopian woman did come up to Ben and me and praise us for what we were doing, telling TK that he was blessed. I think she got it wrong though because Ben and I are definitely getting the best end of this process.

Ben and I got called after waiting for a couple of hours. It was a very anticlimactic process. We were at the window for 5 minutes, got asked a few questions by the Embassy worker and then given the original documents from the court and TK's birth certificate. One thing about this process that really upsets me is that once we have officially adopted TK in the United States, he loses his Ethiopian citizenship, making him a US citizen only. Also, Kedir is erased from his birth certificate as if he was never his father which is awful, simply awful. Let me say right now that I HATE this about international adoption. It is completely unfair to change his life this way. TK is an ETHIOPIAN. Yes, he is being raised in the US by US citizens but he is Ethiopian by birth, and he is his father's child. ALWAYS. Ben and I love him already, we do. But we honor his heritage, we treasure his culture and we cannot stand that the government does this to these children.

We left the Embassy by a little after noon. We spent the rest of the day with TK, in the hotel room and in the hotel dining area. Again, it made us long for home where we could leave and see the city with him if we wanted to or have something to do while he was sleeping.


Leilani said...


osolomama said...

Your blog came up in my reader. Good for you in so many ways. Good for you understanding from Day 1 how much loss this involves. All our kids should have dual citizenship and no loss of birth certificate.

Hang in.

semiferalmama said...

The birth certificate thing is just plain weird. I don't have an educated opinion about the citizenship but I can tell you this... paper is just paper. You and Ben will assure that TK remains Habesha even as he grows up in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing story, real-life story, and one that becomes a part of who you and TK are.

He's an adorable little kido.....I love the pic of him sleeping in your arms, Melanie.....that's a priceless pic.

I read all your stuff...brings back FOND memories of a week I spent in Ethiopia in 1972 in a little town called Jima, about an hour outside Addis Ababba.

Have a great time getting to know TK. Rick Ralston

Smiths said...

I love hearing about your sleep that first night together- get ready for the emotional rollercoaster ride. It's usually a good thing. You'll get used to it:)

How's it going now that you're home?